Lighten up: It’s spring!

Posted by at 1:25 pm

No matter what the groundhog’s opinion is, the calendar says spring is going to be here soon! And the warmer weather historically means home sales are about to heat up, as well. Studies show letting in more light and lightening your color scheme does wonders for your personal well-being. Incorporate one or more of the following inexpensive DIY changes into your springtime routine, and you may find your house is more salable down the road, as well. Start with the curtains. If you are sporting grandma’s triple-thick window treatments, it might be time for a change. Heavy “blackout” curtains originated in World War II-era Britain, to block the view of nighttime lights from German bomber pilots. Even after the war was over, blackout curtains remained in vogue through the 1970s, with the added benefit of moderating temperature. When closed, they...
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Bay Equity: Building relationships to last

Posted by at 11:30 am

For the very best in customer service, borrowers keep coming back to Bay Equity Home Loans. Once a borrower is in the thick of the mortgage transaction, they quickly realize how much deeper the process goes. There are so many questions – things to learn, documents to pull together, papers to sign. Here’s where Bay Equity shines. Our loan officers always add a deep commitment to the highest standards of local, direct customer service. That commitment keeps customers coming back time and time again. Just look to Montgomery, AL, where Krystal and Stephen Williams financed their first home with Jennifer Johnston back in 2016. When they were ready for a move-up home in late 2018, they didn’t consider anyone else but Jennifer and Bay Equity.  “We just love her,” Krystal says. “She was wonderful.” Bay Equity’s seasoned team of professionals...
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First-time home buyers finding options

Posted by at 4:06 pm

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, more than 70 percent of non-cash, first-time home buyers – and 54 percent of all buyers – made down payments of less than 20 percent over the last five years.

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Freeze and thaw credit report for secure home buy

Posted by at 12:35 pm

In response to many high-profile data heists over the last decade, many people now choose to lock up access to their credit history with a PIN-controlled “credit report freeze.” Once widely considered the province of the paranoid, personal digital security is now the calling card of the credit savvy. After a 2017 breach at Equifax exposed the information of 500 million people, the federal government passed legislation requiring all three credit bureaus to allow people to freeze their credit reports quickly. Credit reporting agencies must respond to online or phoned-in freeze requests within one business day (they get three days for snail mail). A freeze effectively closes access to your credit report, and since new credit can’t be issued without a credit check, hackers theoretically can’t get it for their own nefarious purposes, either. This is a great new piece...
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A New Year’s path to homeownership

Posted by at 12:44 pm

The New Year always begins with New Year’s resolutions – with a list nearly always topped by getting fit (i.e. giving up fatty food, alcohol or smoking), getting organized or taking better care of finances. Our Bay Equity Loan Officers are experts in helping customers make a similar list of resolutions. Let us help you make it a happy New Homeowner’s Year, too. Ready to get started? Credit Check:  Good credit is key to getting a mortgage but it takes discipline and planning. First, find out what your score is. Pay bills on time, and work to improve your credit establish it independently by opening up checking/savings accounts and using credit cards carefully. How much? Figure out how much you can spend with a handy mortgage calculator. Don’t forget to consider closing costs, ongoing maintenance and insurance, too. Experts recommend...
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Housing taking a peak?

Posted by at 11:02 am

After rapid acceleration for most of the past two years, home prices in many parts of the country are slowing as interest rates rise and inventory in some markets increases. Evidence that the market is cooling can be seen in price drops. In October, 31.3 percent of homes for sale had at least one price drop of more than 1 percent after listing, 6.3 percent higher than last October’s level of 25 percent. Ten years after the financial crisis, the notion of a housing “peak” – which would naturally be followed by a downturn – seems downright spooky. Is it time to start talking about a “housing bubble?” Most economists say no. Historically, price crashes are usually caused by over-supply. In contrast, the present moment is probably a simple “cycle top” – the kind of correction normal in any consumer...
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A bit about buying via blockchain

Posted by at 12:20 pm

Though Bitcoin still hogs most of the blockchain headlines, it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of applications likely to be affected by this burgeoning technology. However, Bitcoin does provide a simple way to illustrate how many different blockchain transactions might be conducted in the future. As a publicly-accessible ledger, blockchain record-keeping is far more efficient and secure than traditional central-server transactions. When a Bitcoin sales transaction occurs, imagine the users of the blockchain as members of a large audience. The seller and buyer are on a digital “stage,” in front of thousands, or millions, of “people.” In front of all those people, the seller transfers an item to the purchaser, and the purchaser hands over the Bitcoin. Thousands of witnesses can now vouch that the buyer owns the item, and the seller received payment. Since all the...
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Bidet making headway in America’s bathrooms

Posted by at 8:44 am

Surveys today show Americans are open to all kinds of home innovation, and the bathroom is no exception. But acceptance of the bidet – the common personal cleaning fixture that graces commodes throughout much of Europe and Asia – has been a bit of a tough sell. It’s unquestioned that the quality of cleaning with a bidet fixture is superior to toilet paper alone, so why the American reluctance? One of the keys to selling a better toilet is marketing. And in America, talking about the best ways to clean up after the loo has always been a bit taboo. Many anthropologists believe American GIs coming back from World War II associated the bidet with bordellos visited overseas. Given America’s puritanical past, they may have been uncomfortable introducing the bidet to neighbors, afraid they might have to explain exactly where...
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Escalating the situation

Posted by at 11:58 pm

In the increasingly vigorous – and competitive – real estate market, motivated homebuyers may want to consider an “automated” method for making bids on a property of particular interest. You can often match or beat offers that come in later than your own by including an “escalation clause.” Here’s how it works: Say you put in an offer of $260,000, and someone comes along later and offers $265,000. Your escalation clause might come with instructions to match it, or to offer $5,000 more than the highest offer, so your offer automatically goes up to $270,000. The escalation clause can also include a “cutoff” or a maximum amount you are willing to pay – say $275,000. If someone comes along and bids $280,000, you’re not going that high. In situations where a property is likely to see multiple offers and even...
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Looking out for Generation Z

Posted by at 11:51 am

It seems that almost every segment of the real estate profession today is aimed at the Millennial Generation. Makes sense. At 80 million strong, Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are the largest demographic in history. And now, most have graduated college, begun careers and families, and are settling nicely into the prime spending years. But time moves inexorably forward, and it’s not too early to be talking about the next wave of potential homeowners – Generation Z. Made up of the 75 million Americans born since 1996, Generation Z is expected to start buying homes in earnest within five to 10 years. Analysts say they’re going to be a bargain-hunting, tech-loving, real estate–savvy force to be reckoned with. Watching the Great Recession unfold, most are financially conservative. They know the value of a dollar and the mathematics behind long-term...
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